• You're in control. Farewell 2020

    It’s New Year’s Eve 2020. This year (and what a year) is almost done. Tomorrow we start over with the start of 2021!

    Control key from a computer keyboard

    One thing I wanted to talk about as we finish up 2020 is ‘taking control’, specifically with social media.

    It is easy to coast, to be just a passive consumer. I know I often find myself doing it. But I think that can be risky. One day you discover you’re completely swamped, maybe even drowning with all this stuff. That’s not good!

    Social media is a tool. It can be great - keeping in touch with friends and conversing with people you might otherwise never have the opportunity to meet in real life. But it can also be misused and be a negative, destructive influence. Not to mention the agendas and commercial of the social media platforms themselves. Remember nothing is free. There’s always a cost. Someone always ends up paying.

    Be deliberate

    Be intentional about what you’re sharing and what you’re consuming. I know it’s easy to just post whatever comes to mind. Maybe before you hit Post, take 5 minutes, then come back and review it with fresh eyes. Do I really need to post this? Is this constructive, helpful, building people up? Great! No? Maybe there’s a better way to express yourself. Are you (or your current/future employer) going to be comfortable re-reading this in a few months or years?

    Be careful

    Do you really want to share your location/GPS coordinates? Most platforms do a good job of stripping these from photo uploads, but I know with my own blog I need to do that manually.

    Are friends ok with being tagged or shared in a photo?


    Is a particular social platform causing you stress? Deleting your profile (or even just taking a break for a few days) might be helpful. If you do choose to delete, it might be worth downloading all your data first.

    Remember, this is social media - not real life! Real friendship exists beyond any particular technology platform.


    Sometimes you follow or friend someone who turns out to be a bit of a ‘froot loop’. There’s no rule to say you have to keep following or stay connected. Delete the connection. If they’re pestering you, block them.


    Maybe they’re not a complete froot loop, but going through an odd phase. Many social platforms allow you to mute someone. You can still stay connected, but you won’t see their posts.


    Some platforms allow you to define keywords that you want to exclude from your news feed. If there’s words you find offensive or topics you don’t care about, use this feature.


    Take control. Make healthy choices. Stay safe. Happy New Year and all the best for 2021!🙂🎆🧨🎇

  • Christmas 2020

    A scary Christmas present

    Christmas this year started technically at 12.01am. I was rostered on to be ‘Vision Mixer’ for the streaming videos of my church’s Christmas eve services - 7.30pm and 11pm. The latter finishing just after midnight.

    I’ve been volunteering to be a camera operator and vision mixer since church started live streaming a few months ago. It’s a bit of a dream come true as being a TV camera person was the second job I wanted to be when I grew up (this is before I discovered computers!). Mixing is a challenging job, and I have greater respect for those who do this as their paid job. It’s one of those things when done right, you don’t even think about it. The Christmas Eve services should be uploaded to the Seeds Uniting YouTube channel soon if you’re interested.

    I love Christmas. It was always an exciting time when I was a little kid, and I still enjoy it now that I’m well and truly all grown up. It is special as a time to remember the birth of Jesus, and a season of catching up with family and remembering old traditions (or possibly making some new ones).

    COVID has obviously had a massive impact on many. Fortunately here in Adelaide and South Australia things are currently in a good state, so any remaining restrictions didn’t impact us personally. I’m all too aware that there are many who are doing it much tougher, or who are missing loved ones that couldn’t be with them due to travel restrictions, or tragically through sickness or death.

    Narelle loves a brunch (and she’s not alone there!), so she organised to have her parents and my aunty over for Christmas morning.

    For lunch, we headed over to my sister’s place. Food continued to be a highlight of the day. My sister, her husband and their very cute dog did a great job of lunch.

    Christmas lunch.

    Yum! Oh and it turns out the Christmas crackers had balloons in that you could make balloon animals with. That was a great laugh.

    Then just when I didn’t think I could fit another thing in, Mum brought out the Christmas slices for afternoon tea!

    Christmas slices

    Wow. We got to bring some leftovers home (plus my mother in-law’s home-made fudge). Not sure how long they’ll last. I’ll have to try and keep up the physical activity to counteract all the good eating.

    I’m on annual leave for the next 3 weeks. Will be great to have a break, recharge, catch up with friends and family a bit more, and staying cool over summer.

    Oh, and what was hiding behind that scary wrapping paper (see first picture)? That was my son showing his creative flare to wrap a bucket of Cadbury’s Favourites chocolates. Still deciding if I’m going to share them🙂

  • Extending the Cake bootstrapper to parse cake.config

    Cake logo I’ve just had a post published on the Cake blog, describing how to extend Cake’s bootstrapper scripts to support parsing cake.config file.

    Particularly useful when adding Cake to an existing project that is already using some of the directories that Cake would use by default.

    Read the post, and let me know in the comments here if you’ve ever had to modify the bootstrap yourself.